Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Extremely Biased Point of View

For the most part, I've been a musician all of my life. Sure, I spent SOME time outside playing as a youngster, but I spent an enormous amount of hours practicing the guitar growing up.
It was exciting to me; that maybe, one day, I'd be able to be on a stage… make music that other people wanted to listen to that I, myself, liked to play. Hours & hours, days & days spent on my craft.
Fast forward 30 years (which is completely true, by the way), I am lucky enough that all of that preparation has paid off. However, this musical landscape is infinitely different than when I was dreaming of becoming a musician so many years ago.
My influence chronology reads rather bizarrely: Marshall Tucker Band, Van Halen, Guns N' Roses, Pearl Jam, Rush, Tom Petty, Radiohead, Ben Folds Five, Jeff Buckley, Elliott Smith, etc. I was obsessed. I was surrounded by other obsessed, like minded people. I knew every song from every album… every member… even memorized most of the liner notes.
I know I was in the minority of kids regarding how I spent my time… but I BET that today's percentage of future musicians is probably a fraction of what it was then. It makes me weary of the future. There are very few 'bands' out there. Most acts are just a lead singer. I guess it's what people want. I can't help but feel like the old guy who complains about "kids these days."
Maybe the future has very little room for real musicians. I know there are still good songs out there. There are still good singers… but the connection of musicians on stage does a thing. A thing you can't fake with computers. A thing that will truly impact anyone who pays attention & can witness it.
It is what it is & it ain't what it ain't. MTV was awesome at one point. The radio was just as good. We as a people have changed along with technology & what is placed in front of us.
I don't know what to tell you. I offer you no solution. Just ask yourself if you truly LOVE the music you listen to on the radio. If not, search out what makes you happy… even if it's a Whitesnake album.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Luthiers

A few weeks ago I played a show in the greater Roanoke area with Levi Lowrey. I knew that Wayne Henderson's shop was "sort of on my way" home to Nashville from Roanoke. After a good night's sleep in a decent hotel, I made my way to Wayne Henderson's shop on that Sunday morning.
I've met Wayne once before: he sat in with Zac Brown Band for a song in Charlotte a couple years ago.  He's a fantastic guitarist but possibly an even better guitar builder. I had an amazing visit with Wayne. We talked about guitars, baseball, & guitars… & played guitars. I can honestly say that he is one of the most interesting, nice, talented people I've ever met. He gave me a book that some one wrote about the time he built a guitar for Clapton (aptly named "Clapton's Guitar"). I've since read it & am viciously interested in Wayne building me an instrument. If you read the book, you'll find that Wayne does not conduct business like a normal luthier. He doesn't keep a ledger or list of who is getting a guitar next. There's no natural logic to the list… just Wayne's logic. No matter. He still builds the finest acoustic guitars & mandolins I've ever heard/played. Hopefully, more to come.

Today I got up REALLY early in the lakes region of New Hampshire. I drove almost 4 hours each way to the greater Burlington, VT area. There I met Paul Languedoc. Paul makes maybe the finest, most elegant electric guitar I've ever played. I played 4 of them & they are amazingly consistent. He is famous in some circles because this particular guitar model is used by Trey Anastasio of the band Phish. Paul also served as Phish's sound engineer for many years. He's extremely smart & meticulous… which makes him the right type of person to build guitars. I'm hoping to have Paul build me a guitar someday. I can't even explain how blown away I was at the sound & playability of those instruments.

On my drive back through northwestern New Hampshire I noticed some similarities about these men. They both live in beautiful, remote parts of the world. Actually, as I was in the final 45 minutes of my trip to Paul's, it really reminded me of the final 45 minutes of my drive to Wayne's… although they are 11 hours apart. Both men are 'one man' operations. Both men have made guitars for YEARS. Both men have VERY low output regarding number of instruments. Both men are extremely detailed oriented when it comes to building. Both men make some of the finest instruments on earth. It's extremely hard to get in touch with both men as well. I consider myself lucky just to visit both shops… within weeks, no less. My time off has been eventful.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Conducive

I just don't know. It's just really hard for my current lifestyle to work in blogging on a daily or nightly basis. When I started this blog years ago I was home nearly every night… or in a hotel room every night when I was on the road.
Now, I'm sure I can do this with more frequency but it's certainly not going to happen EVERY night. I'm going to give it one last college try… maybe starting tomorrow night, as tonight will be VERY VERY late.
And THERE's another thing: I can't talk about what I'm doing tonight because it is kinda top secret. Not government agent/kill you "top secret" but I can't tell you nonetheless. I can't even hint at it because some of you will ask me about it during Tumblr Tuesday. I hate not being able to talk about things. So if I blogged tonight the gist would go like this:

  • I travelled from New Hampshire to Atlanta today.
  • I connected in Detroit.
  • This is the 4th time I've been in Detroit in 2014. No joke. I've only been home once. 
  • I had to leave my little lady while she was very under the weather this morning.
Not very interesting. However, I think it's the effort that counts. I'm going to try, try, try again.
Recent listening: Chris Thile - "Bach: Sonatas & Partitas, Vol. 1"

Friday, January 10, 2014

Ready for Travel

I'm starting to get back to my good old self. I've been writing a song. I've been practicing… mandolin only, but it is practice nonetheless. Working out has been consistent. I am planning to NOT do any of this on my trip to Vegas. I used to think I could bring these things in hopes that I MIGHT be able to better myself in Vegas… but my experience tells me otherwise. I'm not going to kid myself.
I'm pretty excited about Vegas though. A few extracurricular activities planned but my focus is on the shows.
January is light on the shows which is good following the pace we'd kept since late summer. 2013 was intense. I'm glad it's over but am glad for everything that happened during the year. 2013 is the kind of year that makes you better if you can survive it. & survive it I did.
2014 should match in intensity. I have some great news to announce in a week or so. It's not of a personal nature… so don't go thinking that I'm getting married to something like that. I'm not going to put that kind of stuff out there. I'm going to be a little more guarded with personal details from now on.
I should probably get to sleep. Tomorrow is not only a long travel day but our only full night off in Vegas. I'd imagine I'll be getting into trouble & will need my beauty sleep to prepare.

Recent listening: "Inside Llewyn Davis" Soundtrack

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Go!

Even though I have no dog in the fight for this year's NFL playoffs, yesterday's two wild card games were just amazing television. I am in the Nashville airport traveling to see my little lady for a couple days. I'm also looking forward to watching today's games with her brothers & Dad.
Happy Birthday to my homie, Steve Lee, who joins me in his 30's. The 30's for him better than the 20's.
Anywho, let's beat 2014's ass. Make it your bitch. Carpe Diem. Braveheart speech. Patton. Belushi from 'Animal House.'

Monday, December 30, 2013

Evansville, IN

It's too daunting to try to recap since my last post. Let's just try to get back at it. 
We were pretty late getting to the venue this morning. Zac's bus broke down for a couple hours over night. We ride tandem with that bus just in case of times like this.
I worked out this morning. Showered, ate, then took a nap like a 4 year old.
Like most of the US, I watched the NFL as much as I could today. Pretty pleased with the outcome of the playoff slate starting next week. 
Out show was good tonight. I am in constant awe of Matt Mangano. He's such a great musician. Show three was unbelievably solid for him. The future looks bright for ZBB.
Ready for my little lady to show up tomorrow. We have tomorrow off in Detroit. It will be welcome all around.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Checking 1,2,3

So this is my new blogging app for my phone. I've had trouble with these things in the past syncing up & whatnot. Let's see if this makes blogging more convenient & efficient for me.